Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Our Work: Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas

CLIENT: The Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas specialize in minimally invasive hand surgery provided by top-rated surgeons to treat a number of common issues, like Carpal Tunnel.

GOAL: Script a narrative in Spanish to be accompanied by 3D animation that will provide an accurate visual representation of the Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas' minimally invasive procedure. To create this video, SWAGGER Media filmed the oral component against a green screen and used a combination of 3D animation and image compositing to layer the two together and create the final product.

SPOT: Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas - Introductory Commercial (Spanish Version)

Monday, 26 January 2015

Top 5 Ways to Relieve Stress After a Long Day on Set

Warning: This blog post is going to get a bit personal. 

Not to brag or anything, but we here at Swagger have had an amazing 2015 thus far. We've been working on TONS of amazing projects for some really exciting clients, and we are busting our proverbial behinds to get these projects out into the world. But as stimulating as our work is, no one is a 24-hour work robot and we all need to find a way to decompress.

I myself have spent some long hours on set and in the office recently and no matter what, I think it's absolutely crucial to my creativity, organizational ability, and downright sanity to schedule in some time at the end of the day to relax and refuel, no matter what time I get home. So, whether you spend long hours on set like me or are just looking for some new ways to unwind, I thought I'd share some of my favorite ways to relieve stress.

1. Eat your weight in tacos.

This is definitely not a strategy to employ at the end of EVERY stressful work day, but now and again let's face it: you deserve some tacos. I myself live dangerously close to Tacos A Go-Go and admit that on more than one occasion I have ordered so many tacos to go that while I'm standing in line I pretend like I'm getting text messages from my "friend" who is "texting me what they want me to order for them". Whatever. Worth it.

Pro-tip: The barbacoa tacos at Tacos A Go-Go are CHOICE. For a vegetarian highlight, opt for the mushroom and pepper quesadilla. Oh yeah.

2. Take a long hot shower with a fiiiiiine glass of scotch.

I love washing the day off of me with the assistance of a sensible adult beverage. Also, notice I said shower "with" a glass of scotch. Yeah, that's because you're taking that scotch (or beer or chocolate milk or other pleasing drink of your choice) into the shower with you. Stay in there as long as you like. Crank it up as hot as you please. It's YOU time now. 

Pro-tip: If you like 'em a little angry like me, try Lagavulin 16. #scotch

3. Press play on your favorite podcast.

Sure, it's easy to collapse on the couch, pop on the television, and numb out. But let's face it, a lot of what you watch when you're in that kind of mood is just noise. Flashy, noisy noise that doesn't leave you feeling relaxed, just like time has passed. That's why I opt for podcasts instead when I've had a particularly rough day. When you're listening only, you're forced to be a bit quieter, calmer, and you focus a little bit better. Even though "forces you to focus" may sound like you have to work harder, I find that that kind of pointed focus is actually far more relaxing. It's like how when you multitask a million things in a day, you tend to walk away feeling completely unproductive, but if you finish just one solid task, you walk away satisfied. 

Plus, because you're not watching anything, your hands/eyes are free to roam about and take care of some much-needed house chores, like laundry or dishes, upping your productivity even when you're beat. I don't know about you, but these things are much less likely to happen if I'm zoning out in front of the tube.

Pro-tip: If you aren't familiar with This American Life, then change that. This weekly show is a master class for anyone who is involved in the telling of stories. Download the app and you get 500+ hour-long episodes free. Ira Glass will change your life. 

4. Enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Sometimes when work is overwhelming, you can lose sight of why you do it and why you're proud of your abilities. So, watch a video, reread a project you're particularly proud of, or pull up that old email where the client was overjoyed and showering you with compliments. Sure, it sounds a bit narcissistic, and I'm not suggesting you spend 3 hours of your evening meticulously crafting a scrapbook of your achievements, but taking 5 minutes to think about an old project that truly made you proud can do wonders for motivating you to look forward to the next day, rather than dread it. Make a conscious effort to consider your achievements, then let it all pass away and enjoy your night knowing that even that awesome stuff is not all that defines you.

Pro-tip: Quick! Right now write down three things you are proud of that you can reference in the future. Can't think of a single project you are proud of? You might have more to worry about than a long day at the office. 

5. Go to bed early.

Yes, you can sleep when you're dead. But also, you can sleep now! And you'll probably be glad you did. I always am. I've definitely regretted not sleeping far more times than I've regretted sleeping too much. This is a no-brainer.

Pro-tip: Can't sleep? There's an app for that! No seriously, I've recently downloaded a couple of apps that hypnotize me to sleep, and so far, they seem to work pretty well at getting me to chillax and slip off on that great big steamship to Dreamtown posthaste. (I'm not going to mention the apps by name now, though, for liability's sake, just in case they are actually brainwashing me into clucking like a chicken or liking asymmetrical necklines. Jury's still out, but it's worth a shot!)

What are some of your favorite ways to mellow out after a long day? A woman can only eat so many tacos (so they tell me), and 2015 doesn't look to be slowing down any time soon, so I could always use some more ideas in my arsenal! Leave your tips in the comments below. 

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Our Work: Uptown Park - My Fit Foods

CLIENT: The My Fit Foods concept was founded in 2006 in the apartment kitchen of Mario Mendias, a former Marine and personal trainer. Mario's mission was to show the world that healthy, natural, clean food could not only change one's life, but be absolutely delicious and didn't have to cost a fortune. This mission remains the same today.

GOAL: To conceptualize, produce and edit a :60 highlight video of the varied and healthy selection offered by My Fit Foods in Uptown Park.

SPOT: Uptown Park: My Fit Foods 

Monday, 19 January 2015

Behind the Scenes: Charming Charlie

We're kicking off the New Year with tons of new projects for our clients. Among them is a big project we're working on with Charming Charlie, a trendy, Houston based women's accessory store. We've been with them from the beginning and it's been amazing to watch them expand into a nation-wide phenomenon!

Our camera man climbing heights to get the perfect shot!

Here's hoping your 2015 is turning out to be as busy and productive as ours so far!

Monday, 12 January 2015

How To Sync Audio Like A Pro in 6 Easy Steps

Syncing audio can be a very tedious and non-desired process for many editors out there. Personally, it used to be a nightmare for me, especially when working on projects with tons of interviews and quick turn around times.

The way I used to do it: Classic slate combo.

I used to add markers to my clips on the exact slate hit (on both the audio and camera files), and tried to tie up those markers together. After that, I would repeat this process with EACH and EVERY ONE of the takes on my sequence(s). Sounds fun, right?

It's not.
The way I do it now: PluralEyes.

Honestly, this software works like magic. Here at SWAGGER Media, we use it for pretty much EVERY project that involves audio syncing and we’re extremely happy with the results.

With just a few clicks here and there, PluralEyes analyzes your audio and camera files, syncs them quickly, and lets you export them out either as media files or as XMLs, so you can open them up in your editing software (Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro X). And, it works on both Mac and Windows operating systems.

The basics

1. Go to the  Red Giant site to download a free trial or purchase the full PluralEyes License.

2. When you open up your software, it's going to look like this: 

3. Go to “File” + “Save Project As”. Name and save your project before doing anything else. It’s always better to be safe than lose everything you’ve worked on (we feel your pain).
4. Once you’ve organized your footage, drag your camera and audio files or folders to the “Drop Here” panel. Or go to “Add Media” and select the files that you would like to import.

You can import as many camera and audio folders as needed, and each one of them can include several files.

5. Click on “Synchronize” and let the magic happen! Plural Eyes will sync all your camera files and audio recorder files in seconds.

It will also let you know when the sync is done with a quick sound alert, and it will turn your synced files to green if everything worked out correctly.

If for some reason the software wasn’t able to sync some of the files (unfortunately this can happen), the files will turn red. If you have many red files, it may be worth starting over and trying again. Sometimes it’s just a matter of the software misreading the files.

6. When you are ready and happy with your synced project, click on “Export Timeline”. Choose to export it either as an editor format (XMLs for Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premiere) or as a media file.

You can also decide whether you want the software to replace the camera audio with the external audio files, or not.

Finally, when you’re all set with your export settings, hit “Export”. PluralEyes will automatically export out your file to your project location.

That’s it! Now you’re all good to either open up your XML(s) on your editing software or work with your now synced media file(s). 


This is it. This is how you can easily sync audio like a PRO! So tell me, how do you like to sync audio on your projects? Have you used PluralEyes in the past? Is there any other syncing software or syncing tip you would like to recommend? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below or tweet @swagger_media!

¡Hasta la próxima!